Capturing the IGIs of luxury travel

By Jeri Clausing

*logoI used to think I was just ADD. Turns out when I travel, I am also IGI.

That’s the term, short for “I got it,” the Langham Place Fifth Avenue has coined for travelers like me who, for whatever reason, don’t want all the attention luxury hotels pride themselves on giving.

No, I don’t need help with my roller bag. After all, I did already manage to get it all the way here on my own. Thanks, but I can find my way to my room. I don’t have the patience to wait for an escort, let alone have them go through my room showing my how to turn on the air conditioning and television.JeriClausing 

But when I need something -- a forgotten charger or toothbrush, the name of the closest restaurant without a wait or help getting to the right channel on that television I was so sure I could handle -- I want it. Now.

Langham Place GM Francois-Olivier Luiggi says the number of IGI travelers is growing, and they present new challenges for the hotels that seek to engage them and earn return business.

“When you see a honeymoon couple come in kissing, you can do no wrong,” he said. “When a family comes in they want help with luggage. You have to open the door before the car even stops. That’s why they come to a five-star hotel.”

But the IGIs “are people who travel a lot,” he said. “It’s across all generations.”

When they come in, he said, it’s with more of a “what can you possibly do for me” attitude.

He says he first realized this category of traveler when going through guest satisfaction surveys and spotting a pattern of travelers that didn’t complain, but didn't give a top score, either.

“One of the doorman said, ‘We call them IGI,” Luiggi said. “Every time we offer something, they say ‘I got it.’”

So, he says, the hotel has developed programs and services to get their attention, “to make them stop and say, ‘Yes, I need that.’”

The list includes things like flexible check-in and check-out times and complimentary pressing for five pieces of clothing.

The pressing service, he says, has proved to be one the most popular among IGI business travelers who come in with all their clothes packed in a carry-on.

“They stop and say, ‘Wow, thanks. Send someone up to my room,” he said.

He says the hotel has also found ways to engage with female IGIs by offering a wash and blow-dry service at the salon when someone inquires about the gym.

“Every luxury hotel does these things one way or another,” he said.  “But we have come up with a list to engage those people who have been everywhere, don’t need anything.”

So is it working? “All I can tell you is I’m sold out Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday every week,” Luiggi said. “So we do very well. We have a strong repeat core business.”

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